Kevin T. Velez, Campus Carrier asst. arts & living editor

Business networking is often described as essential in constructing a viable approach to getting into whatever career or job a student may want to pursue. According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking, and Indeed.com defines business networking as, “the act of maintaining a personal and professional contact list that you can use to help further your career.”

Berry’s Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) encourages students to begin constructing their network through networking websites and apps as early as their sophomore year, if not even earlier. 

The CPPD likes to use LinkedIn and Handshake for a general introduction into the realm of networking for students. 

Sue Tarpley is the director of career development and a career consultant at the CPPD. As part of her role, Tarpley guides students in establishing their networks to further their connections to potential employers. Tarpley recommends for students to begin utilizing networking tools as early as possible. 

“These websites are necessary tools for the toolbox,” Tarpley said. 

Despite the benefits of networking, many Berry students tend to put off networking until senior year. According to Tarpley, often times students are hesitant to begin networking because it appears to students that networking uses other people to gain a desired position. 

To remedy this issue, Tarpley says students need to shift their mindset regarding networking because, networking is bigger than most students realize and pushing it off will only hurt them. The sooner that a student can get started in networking practices, the easier it will be for them to make new connections. They might even be able to find jobs and internships earlier on in their college careers.

“Networking is not something that needs to be avoided but embraced,” Tarpley said.

Underclassmen are particularly encouraged by Tarpley to use PathwayU to match with potential employers and careers best suited for the student based off their selected preferences and goals. PathwayU is helpful to students still undecided about their career or even majors because it helps to narrow ideas through its personality quizzes and algorithms designed to guide students through their decisions. By learning more about their personalities and opinions, students will be able to have more insight into their preferences in career field options. 

As a very well known networking social media conglomeration, LinkedIn houses a website and app to achieve its mission in connecting employer and potential employees. Since 2003, LinkedIn has created a platform for candidates to search for job postings and create a profile résumé for potential employers to view. The network also posts internship opportunities listed by employers and other organizations to recruit college students during spring, summer or fall semesters. 

Handshake is a networking platform tailored specifically to college students looking for internships or other employment opportunities. Berry’s Career Center uses Handshake to set up meetings with career counselors, register students for career events and to reserves the new interview room in CPPD, designed to give students a suitable space for virtual interviews. Handshake allows students to follow employers and view remarks from previous students about their experience at certain internships and jobs. 

Other networking resources that Tarpley recommends are Chambers of Commerce, young professional groups and job boards that relate to a student’s specific major or interest. She also recommends networking with Berry alumni through LinkedIn and other sites and adds that simple networking includes talking to your neighbors or family friends and developing a web of connections to potential jobs or certain employers. 

“Genuinely being curious and asking questions is a great way to start networking,” Tarpley said. 

According to Tarpley, Covid-19 has not halted networking. Employers are still meeting with candidates through online events and scheduling remote interviews. 

“Networking is not going anywhere,” Tarpley said. 

Tarpley recommends these resources to students just beginning their networking experience, as well as the networking events, resume and interview workshops, many of which are held for students by the CPPD throughout the year. 

Viking Connections events are held by the CPPD to give Berry students the opportunity to meet potential employers and connect with hiring managers. 

In past years, these events have been held both on and off campus with employers and community partners. This year, due to restrictions put in place by the COVID-19 pandemic, Viking Connections will be held virtually. Students can attend the Viking Connections events on Mar. 8 and 22, as well as Apr. 5. 

To get more information on this year’s various Vikings Connections events, or to make an appointment with a career consultant at the CPPD, students can use the Handshake app or go to the Center for Personal and Professional Development’s page on Berry’s main website. 

Posted by Campus Carrier

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